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Ferndale Voters Approve Marijuana Legalization



The marijuana measure passed in Ferndale on November 5, by nearly 70% of those who cast ballots proposing to decriminalize marijuana. Just over 22% of the registered voters turned out for the election, well above the average 14% turnout for local elections in the city. Residents have been asking, “is it legal to smoke weed in Ferndale, Michigan? Even though pro-marijuana activists see victory in Ferndale’s vote to legalize small amounts of cannabis on private property, the city’s police chief says pot users can still face charges under state law. The new ordinance states the use, possession or transfer of less than an ounce of marijuana on private property is legal for those 21 or older. Former City Mayor, Craig Covey states, “I think it’s just a matter of time before marijuana is decriminalized for all adults, as it already has been in Detroit and Ann Arbor.” The legalization referendum passed with 2,332 votes, or 69.25% of the vote, compared with 1,035 votes against it (30.74%) The present Mayor of the city of Ferndale, Dave Coulter opposed the local marijuana ordinance; he argues the issue should be addressed at the state or federal level. “I don’t think enforcement will change in Ferndale as a result of this ordinance. It is largely symbolic because it cannot trump state and federal law. I think our voters sent a clear message to Lansing, but at the local level we cannot really change that states drug laws.”